Jessica Lang Dance, founded and led by choreographer Jessica Lang, will perform a number of Lang’s creations on April 12 at Eisenhower Auditorium.
Originally from Bucks County, Lang started dancing when she was 3 years old. She attended the Juilliard School in New York City and danced professionally for a few years before deciding to switch to creating dance, which she has done since 1999.
In 2011, Lang founded her own company.
“I had worked as a freelancer for about 11 or 12 years, and I just felt like a guest in everyone’s home,” she said. “I was out of balance, until there was an opportunity to form my own company. We’re based in New York City and we travel all around the world performing my work.”
Jessica Lang Dance has presented Lang’s works at festivals and venues across the United States and worldwide, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Chicago’s Harris Theater for Music and Dance.
The company’s Penn State program will feature performances of “Thousand Yard Stare,” set to music by Ludwig van Beethoven, “Tesseracts of Time,” performed to music by David Lang, Morton Feldman, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis and Arvo Pärt, “The Calling,” featuring music by Trio Mediaeval and more.
“We open the program with a piece called ‘Solo Bach,’ which is just a nice little dance to solo violin with one dancer,” Lang said. “So, it’s just short and sweet, with music and dance — no other elements.”
“Sweet Silent Thought,” performed by two female and two male dancers, took inspiration from selected sonnets by William Shakespeare. The dance features readings from five of the Bard’s poems. The company will close the first half of the program with “Thousand Yard Star,” which is based on the theme of war, and dedicated to veterans, Lang said.
“We then come back from intermission with a short signature work called ‘The Calling,’ which is really as much about the dance as it is about the costumes,” Lang said.
“The Calling,” a four-minute excerpt from Lang’s “Splendid Isolation II,” features a single female dancer in a white gown, using mostly upper-body movements.
The last piece in the program is in collaboration with architect Stephen Holl. “Tesseracts of Time,” explores time and space using architectural design by Holl.
“There are elements of his ideas about architecture in relationship to the ground — how it exists,” Lang said. “It’s a creative journey, but it shows a very visual response.”
Lang’s hope is that the audience will leave the theater inspired by these works — by what they both see and hear.
“The kind of work that I create is work that is meant to be universal and have an appeal based on the experience of your own life — what you can see through it,” she said. “So I just hope they leave inspired and have a wonderful evening.”
IF YOU GO
- What: Jessica Lang Dance
- When: 7:30 p.m. April 12
- Where: Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park
- Info: www.cpa.psu.edu